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Time Travel – Historic Estes Park

Historical markers, buildings, trails and stories of early inhabitants, visitors and ancestors can be found throughout Rocky Mountain National Park and Estes Park. Here are a few family friendly ideas for real time travel:


Baldpate Inn – With Longs Peak in the backdrop, the Baldpate Inn is home to the world’s largest key collection (over 20,000 keys with examples from The Pentagon, Westminster Abby, Mozart’s wine cellar, Frankenstein’s castle)  a remarkable Photograph Collection (Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Lana Turner, Wild Bill Cody, Jack London, Tetrazinni) and a world of history spanning 103 years.  The dining room features a daily fresh salad buffet, complemented by delicious homemade soups, breads, and pies.  The Baldpate offers fun family events including live Radio Plays at the Key-thedral Theater and weekly “Summer Enchanted Evenings” each Wednesday at 7pm.



Set at the base of “Old Man Mountain” Elkhorn Lodge is the oldest hotel in Estes Park and is home to the first Estes Park school house (1886), Church (1890) and the original stage terminal – the Coach House.  The ‘old main lodge’ dates back to 1871 and is still in use as the oldest continually occupied structure in Estes Park.  Prior to receiving its first guests in 1874, the property consisted of an old lodge and a barn.  In addition to casual, delicious family dining at Cheezy Lees (pizza, soup & salad bar, gourmet bakery) Elkhorn Lodge is also home to Ranahan Ranch – a classic dude ranch with access to wonderful trails and spectacular views.    Elkhorn Lodge boasts ghosts!  Unexplained phenomena at the Elkhorn Lodge dates back to when the property was still a cattle ranch in the early 1870’s.  Throughout the years, both visitors and staff members have reported encounters with “permanent” residents. Schedule a ride at or book your tour at



The inspiration for Stephen King’s famous haunted hotel, The Stanley proudly shares its historic “permanent” residents in a variety of activities including historical and Ghost Tours and Ghost Hunts.    The hotel itself is the brainchild of F.O. Stanley, who, in 1909, purchased 140 acres of land and designed a luxurious hotel for vacationing Easterners.  To foster tourism, F.O. Stanley built the road between Lyons and Estes Park and utilized specially built Stanley Steamer Busses to transport visitors and guests to and from the train station.  He also designed a power plant for the hotel, a manor house, casino building, tennis courts, a 9-hole golf course, trap shooting range and an airfield for small planes. The Stanleys were also responsible for the establishment of the first bank, and sewer, power, and water company in Estes Park. (Visitors can tour the hydraulic power plant on Old Fall River Road. ) An inventive family, the brothers established the first commercial violin manufacturing company; invented a home generator for gas lighting, and pioneered work in the development of early x-ray equipment.  In addition to ghosts, tours and history, The Stanley features a the beautiful Cascades Restaurant and a Whiskey Bar for “people watching.”


Need more?  Visit Estes Park Museum  take a free Downtown Historical Walking tour or best yet, come stay with us and check out the Heritage Festival  (August 23-24) where you’ll get to ride in a Stanley Steamer or an antique draft horse-drawn wagon, learn about our hearty pioneer settlers, and help build a long cabin – you know – time travel.



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